Volume 61, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


This paper describes the isolation and partial genetic characterization of a hantavirus from a pygmy rice rat, Oligoryzomys microtis, collected within the urban area of Iquitos, Loreto Department, Peru. The virus, designated HTN-007, exhibited the highest degree of genetic similarity to Rio Mamore virus, which was originally described from the same rodent species in eastern Bolivia. Comparison of small and medium segment nucleotide sequence data from HTN-007 and Rio Mamore virus revealed 87% and 85% sequence identity, respectively. Based on these analyses, HTN-007 appears to be a variant of Rio Mamore virus. As such, it represents the first successful isolation of Rio Mamore virus and the first evidence for the existence of a hantavirus in Peru. Serologic studies done by immunofluorescence on blood samples of 56 O. microtis trapped at the collection site indicated that 21.4% had antibodies to hantavirus. In view of the proximity of this rodent species to humans and the close phylogenetic relationship of Rio Mamore virus to hantaviruses that have been associated with human disease, Rio Mamore virus may be a hantavirus of some public health importance in tropical South America.


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